Online Program

Student perspectives on community building through community-based learning

Monday, November 2, 2015

Alissa Leavitt, MPH, MCHES, Social Science, Health & PE, Portland Community College, Portland, OR
Elaine Cole, PhD, Sustainability, Portland Community College, Portland, OR
Background: Community-based learning (CBL) is considered one of the newer approaches to connecting academic study and community service. It has gained increasing value in academia because of its potential to enhance students' personal and professional development. At Portland Community College (PCC), CBL began as a grass-roots movement among faculty and staff who believed in the potential of education to transform students' lives and society. Now more than 100 PCC faculty from a variety of disciplines connect course learning objectives and reflection exercises with community involvement, thus allowing thousands of students to volunteer with community agencies, learn about social issues, and make a difference in their communities.

The purpose of this presentation is to explore, discuss and reflect on community-based learning as a form of civic education. This interactive workshop will highlight students’ perspective on learning, service, and collaboration with the on-campus learning garden and PCC sustainability initiatives. The garden provides experiential education and life-long learning opportunities for students, faculty, staff and community members. Presenters will share the teaching-and-learning activities they have developed, their work with faculty colleagues, student responses, and the challenges that have emerged.

Methods: Students completed a survey and provided feedback through informational interviews regarding their CBL experience.

Results: Preliminary responses are positive. Students' self-report of their experiences indicates that on-campus CBL opportunities promotes interdisciplinary academic achievement, leadership development, sustainable food systems and community building. Additional results will be provided.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify community-based learning as a pedagogical tool for educating students about social justice, civic engagement, and personal responsibility for positive social change. Discuss lessons learned, and offer suggestions for best practices to follow in developing garden-based and/or sustainability community-based learning projects. Define the rationale for applying problem-based learning pedagogy and service-learning. Describe the conditions that enhance implementation of CBL.

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, College Students

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an instructor at PCC and have been offering CBL opportunities for my students the past four years. I also collaborate with the Learning Garden and Sustainability team and colleagues on CBL projects.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.